| BUDGET airline passenger numbers fell by four per cent last month on the previous year's figures, although 'traditional' flight companies saw a 7.7 per cent drop in travellers to Spain.
Low-cost airlines only just pip traditional ones at the post with an almost 50-50 split, and the UK continues to be the former's largest market, representing three in 10 passengers flying to Spain – slightly ahead of Germany, which accounts for just under a fifth.
But numbers have fallen since the same period in 2012, with around half a million fewer British travellers and 300,000 fewer German passengers.
Italy, France and the Netherlands make up the rest of the top five, in that order, but Italian and Dutch custom on cheap flights plummeted in January by 20 and 14 per cent respectively.
French fliers also fell by three per cent, but Scandinavian passenger numbers soared last month with a rise of 39 per cent for Norway and 27 per cent for Denmark.
Ryanair, easyJet and Vueling accounted for 55 per cent of total low-cost flights to and from Spain, and the Canary Islands saw the most arrivals, followed by Catalunya, the Comunidad Valenciana, Madrid, Andalucía and the Balearic Islands.
Barcelona's El Prat, Madrid's Barajas and Tenerife South were the three most popular airports for budget flight companies.